Charles I, 1698
Oil on canvas
Signed and inscribed, Carolus Rex Primus / E. Collier fecit London 1698
11 3/4 x 9 1/2 in. (30 x 24 cm)
This picture is executed in a technique called trompe l’oeil, literally “trick the eye.” The portrait of Charles I (reigned 1625-1649), clad in armor, is painted to resemble an engraving pinned to an oak board. Collier, a Dutch artist who worked in London, specialized in trompe l’oeil and still life paintings. He made this portrait in 1698 probably to mark the approaching fiftieth anniversary of Charles’s execution. The king had been beheaded in 1649 by Parliamentarian forces victorious against the Royalists in the bitter English Civil War. Images of the king were popular throughout the second half of the seventeenth century among supporters of the Stuart dynasty, who regarded the dead king almost as a saint.
Mrs. Elez. Hookes, Gaunts, Dorset, 1765 (according to a replica on the lining of the original inscription, The gift of Mrs Elez. Hookes / of Gaunts in Com Dorset / 31 July 1765); Phillips, London, June 3, 1997, lot 51
See Artist Profile